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Fury as concert cancelled due to drug and public order fears

A SELL-OUT concert due to be attended by thousands of music fans has been cancelled at the eleventh hour due to drug-related safety concerns.

DJ Hardwell was expected to entertain around 7500 people at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh this evening, but the event was shelved 24 hours beforehand after councillors met police chiefs and health professionals.

This comes after drink and drug-fuelled unrest at Hardwell's Belfast gig on Thursday. More than 100 young people were treated by paramedics, while a handful of arrests were made. Footage of brawls at the rave have also been uncovered.

Edinburgh City Council said its decision was also influenced by the death of teenager Regane MacColl who died after a suspected drug incident in a Glasgow nightclub last weekend. Her funeral service will be at St Mary's in Duntocher on Thursday morning before she is laid to rest at Old Dalnottar Cemetery in Clydebank. A memorial service is also expected to be held for her on Sunday evening in Hardgate.

Councillor Gavin Barrie, convener of Edinburgh City Council's regulatory committee, said: "We have taken the difficult decision to suspend the licence on the grounds of a serious threat to public order and safety, following advice from Police Scotland and health officials after what happened in Belfast and Glasgow.

"We appreciate the disappointment this will cause to those who were planning to attend the event, but protecting public safety must be our priority. Ticket holders should be able to get a full refund."

Thousands of people were expected to travel to Edinburgh for the gig, with many having already booked their transport and accommodation. The rave was expected to last well into the night, finishing at 4am.

Superintendent Matt Richards said: "In response to recent information Police Scotland has received relating to public safety at events held elsewhere in the United Kingdom, the force has expressed its concerns to the City of Edinburgh Council ahead of a proposed concert at the Royal Highland Showground on Saturday.

"Working with council colleagues, several legal powers have been utilised to ensure those considering attending and wider public are protected. As a result of this partnership approach to harm reduction a decision has been taken to cancel the event."

In the wake of the council's ruling, hundreds took to social media sites to vent their frustration, particularly in the light of the fact that a Hardwell gig in Dublin went ahead last night.

Twitter user James Reid said: "Hardwell cancelled. Words can't describe how gutted I am."

Michael Gallagher also Tweeted: "Hardwell cancelled? Sucks for fans. The trouble in Belfast didn't help when drugs are the demon of the week here."

Jordan Hamilton added: "They can't cancel every music act due to drugs. Folk just need to learn their limits," while Kimberley Healy said: "Actually so gutted Hardwell is cancelled. Don't understand how it can still go ahead in Ireland tonight and not over here."

The gig's promoters, Colours, released a statement in the wake of yesterday's ruling. It read: "We will give more details next week regarding either a rescheduled show or the refund procedure. We are doing our utmost to try and get this show rescheduled for a later date."

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